Possible Cause of Type 2 Diabetes Being Studied by UCSF QB3 Researcher/Clinician

Feroz Papa, MD PhD is intrigued by shapes – specifically how proteins are folded into the distinctly shaped structures that allow them to perform highly specific tasks. If proteins unfold in cells, they can aggregate and cause these cells to become damaged. Unfortunately, it appears that insulin-producing beta cells can be very easily damaged through the aggregation of unfolded proteins.

By regulating a cellular defense mechanism called the unfolded protein response (UPR), Dr. Papa hopes to stop the beta cell damage you often find in type 2 diabetes. How is Dr. Papa learning how to regulate the UPR? He and his colleagues are sending more than 150,000 compounds through a sophisticated screening test that was created in Dr. Papa’s lab. From this massive list of compounds, they hope to identify an estimated few dozen compounds having the desired biological effect of adjusting UPR – and ultimately help to discover new drugs to treat type 2 diabetes. Besides being an accomplished researcher at the California Institute for Quantitative Biomedical Research (QB3) on UCSF’s Mission Bay campus, Dr. Papa is also a clinician who sees patients with diabetes at SF General Hospital.